Chosen Sister now on fictionwise

Chosen Sister Cover Chosen Sister is now available on fictionwise as well as straight from the publisher.  I’m excited to see it’s avialable now in multi-formats to fit most e-book readers.  Also, for a limited time it’ll be on sale as a new release, so check it out.  

Now if only I had an e-book reader… I really want a kindle or something.  They seems really fun and convient.

“Once a Thief” to be in an anthology

My short story “Once a Thief” from the Aug-Oct 2008 issue of Sorcerous Signals (from WolfSinger Publications) has been chosen for the year end anthology.  I’m looking forward to my second short story coming out in print!  While I believe very strongly that web-zines and e-books are the way of the future, I’m still a bit sentimental about old fashioned  print.  Even better, my friends Merc and Marva also have stories in the anthology.  I can’t wait for it to come out!  I’m going to need to send a copies to all my relatives.  Yes, I’m one of those sorts of people.

Still, with such wonderful news, I’m inspired to send out more short stories and novel queries for my other work.  Not even rejection can get me down today.

Review: Slave Girl


Slave Girl

Book: Slave Girl

Author: Betsy Hayes

Genre: Mid-grade Historical Fiction

Copyright: 1973

My grade:  A

Summary: The story follows a girl named Clowslip who is sold from the plantation of her birth to Colonel Sprague to watch his three young children while his wife is away.  There she meets her new fellow slaves who have a range of opinions on what it means to be a slave and who with the master all have different ideas about what path she should follow.  Cowslip struggles to discover her own sense of self and identity in the midst of this chaos.

What I learned: Despite the older writing style involving a bit too much introspection for the current narrative tastes of mid-grade fiction this was a strong book.  I thought from glancing at this that I’d like it and I did very much.  The historical setting was well researched, providing clear details, using period language, and established the historical setting well.  However, it never took a back seat to the story itself.  This was very much a story of searching for personal identity and remained so.

The book was very centered on its theme and used simple literary devises to support it throughout the book.  Cowslip’s bandana given to her by the woman who raised her is used nicely in several places as a symbol of identity, self-realization, and change.  One of the major secondary characters, a man named Job, is a man who once was free and was kidnapped by slave traders who burnt his papers and sold him back into slavery.  

Also, the religious beliefs of the character, a mix of Christianity and hoodoo were well presented.  I wonder if this, however, is one of the reasons this book lies forgotten in the library stack.  We are reminded how the masters used the bible to justify the enslavement of black people, and while some characters argue against it, it isn’t shown with any more rightness than the hoodoo.  While many characters are skeptical, Cowslip remains strong in her belief in aspects of both religions.  I see this more as part of her journey to find her personal and cultural identity than any statement in either set of beliefs.  Characters are show on both sides of the debate, and I feel I learned a lot of what makes a successful literary minded mid-grade novel.

My time was well spent with this one.  I’ll be keeping it.

Friends of the Library Book Sale

I love books.  I especially love getting lots of books for very little money, and the end of the library book sale for any region offers this nice.  Benton County, where I live now, has a progressive list of prices that goes down each day of the three day event.  On the final day, yesterday, books are $5 a box.

Here I sit now, eyeing my three boxes of books.  Two of them are purely children’s books.  I went originally to the sale to look for books I know I want, because I have a growing collection of kid’s books I love and appreciate.  However, I just couldn’t resist coming back on the final day to stock up on any and all random kid’s books that looked like they had a shadow of potential.  

On the theory that reading what you write will inspire and improve your writing, I’m going to be working through them.  Also, considering I want to get into the regular habit of blogging, I’m going to review them.  

Since all these are old books, some practically ancient, I feel no obligation to be polite, like I might with new books of up and coming authors.  I tend to only review books I love.  I expect the library discards are going to have some wretched ones.  I plan to say so.  I can learn as much from bad kid’s lit as from good kid’s lit.

The Dreaded Writer’s Block and Writing Garbage


Once the flashing lights of a novel coming out and the thrill of seeing my first (and beautiful cover) have passed, I’ve found myself dissatisfied with everything I try to write next.  Fortunately, taking some time off to go hiking in nature has re-energized me and reminded by that it’s perfectly acceptable to write garbage when drafting.

I often struggle with wanting to tell a good story.  Sadly, good stories don’t jump out of my brain fully formed.  I tend to need several drafts to hash out plot, characterization, setting, and all the juicy stuff that makes a novel so much fun to read.  When I put pressure on myself to produce these things on the spot, I freeze up.  

Ever since I sold “Chosen Sister” my work in progress “Paladin Honor” has been stalled.  First it was a necessity of the line edits and revisions taking up my time.  Then it was Nanowrimo (which granted got me the as yet unedited “Miranda Makes Her First Million”) and after that the holidays.  When I tried to return to everything in January, somehow I’d forgotten along the way that I was writing a rough draft.  I’d open the novel, look at a few lines and draw a blank.

Thankfully, last week ended the month long bout of Writer’s Block, and I’m happily writing garbage to finish up the draft of my novel.  After it’s done, I’ll go back and gut the novel with a vengeance to finally make it the good book it deserves to be.

A fascinating article on e-books

My publisher sent me a link to this great article on e-books.  Being the author of an e-book, I’m quite interested in the future of the industry.  I was fascinated at the challenges to the market and the history presented in the article.  I hope we can all encourage the publishing of more material as e-books, because I think it can only encourage more people to read and write in the long run.  

Yes, I like hard-copy books as much as the next person.  Curling up with an e-book reader or a laptop just isn’t quite the same.  Yet, like most people, I do the majority of my reading on screen doing exactly that–curling up with the laptop.  Between blogs, e-mail, critques, writing, and catching up on my favorite websites and online magazines, I’m quite used to reading and having fun doing digitally.  When I need copies of older books, obscure French epic poetry and the like, I’m perfectly happy to find them online.  Despite my love of paperback, I’m also following the general trend and opening up my fiction enjoyment in other medium.

I really enjoyed this article’s thorough disecting of the common complaints and issues around e-books.  Electronic forms of novels only add to our flexibility as readers.  For example,  one of my very busy readers read my novel on her blackberry.  I’m encouraged by the growing interest in other ways of getting our daily doses of fiction.

Chosen Sister Available

CoverMy book is now up on the Wild Child Publishing website.

I’d like to give a big thank you to the wonderful group of people who helped me get this book all the way from conception to publication.  This is this boring credit stuff I usually skim, but after all the wonderful people who helped me,  I know now why people do this.   I don’t care, I’m thanking everyone who helped me with this novel.

First, I want to thank my sister Julie for being the inspiration of this story.  I wrote it for her during Nanowrimo 2006.  Also, thanks the folks at Imaginaries who introduced me to Nanowrimo in the first place.

A big thanks to my brother JP and cousin Caroline for reading early drafts, to the people in Tina’s Nanowrimo queue, especially Angela (Momzilla), Hilary, Judy, and Ester (Eblgorton) who gave me a whole book crit.  Also my brother Leo who did a late line edit with me and my mother for some wonderful final revision ideas.

I also want to thank Marva, Shana, Shelb, and Katie (Megora) for some serious query and marketing help at various key points in pushing me and supporting me in getting into the submission game.  I wouldn’t have started putting myself out there without you.

I want to also thank Marci at Wild Child Publishing for her ever helpful attitude and Stephanie, my brilliant editor.

Finally, I wouldn’t be any good promoting myself without Laurie (Aspiration) who first poked us into starting the Toasted Scimitar and got me into blogging, Wulfie who put this wonderful website together, and Merwriter my publicity coordinator.

I’ve lots of other wonderful people at Critique Circle who’ve been a great help, but I think I’ve rambled enough and covered everyone in regards to this particular novel.  Thanks again to everyone!

Chosen Sister release date moved

The release date is getting moved a week later due to the cover art not being quite done yet.  The book will be released on Jan 20th instead.  I can hardly wait to see the cover art, but I guess I’ll just have to be that much more patient.

Oh, and the webside, thanks to Wulfie, is up and running.  Now I just have to get regular at the blog posts.

Chosen Sister release date set

My e-book Chosen Sister has a release date set for Jan 13th.  

I’m very excited and trying to get the website updated and ready to roll in anticipation.   I’m going to start getting into the habit of regular posts involving news here and getting up some free stuff for my readers, hopefully some online stories and downloadable bookmarks/coloring pages.  I just have to write and draw the stuff… easier said then done.